Welcome to the Weekly Dirt, the place to go each week to get up to speed on all that’s off-road. This week we’ve got a little off-road, a little moto, a little Baja…a real mixed bag of news for ya, so let’s get to it!
Dallas was a game changer for the supercross season. From the start of the day it seemed Chad Reed was going to change the momentum in the series. He was riding great, even setting the fastest qualifying lap time – unique for Reed who usually qualifies slower than his race pace. After a mediocre start in his heat he passed into second but didn’t have enough time left to catch Stewart.
In the main he flowed into second right on Ryan Villopoto’s rear wheel. He seemed to have Villopoto covered and was just picking his time and place to pass when he endoed into the sand section in a gruesome crash. For exclusive photos of the crash check here – Chad Reeds Texas Crash Captured. Reed was set to change the momentum in the series’ points his way, but one big mistake has him out for a long time with a broken vertebrae, ribs, and lower leg, as well as a torn ACL.
Jake Weimer held second for the second half of the race, but Dungey closed in and they too put on a battle for the final go-round, with Dungey snagging second a few corners from the end, leaving Weimer to third, still making it a two-Kawasaki podium.So as it turns out, the big news is ‘someone almost beat Villopoto.’ Which may seem early to say in a series that’s already had four different winners, but the way Villopoto is riding over the rest of the field that’s still lining up against him, it looks like the championship favorite has the speed to repeat. But as the Dallas race proved, things can turn around in a hurry. For more on the race and some insight on some of the racers, check out this story – What Really Happened Dallas Supercross.
Dallas was the opening round of the East Coast 250F series, and defending champ Justin Barcia made it clear he’s out to win no matter who’s in his way. He was fast and aggressive all night and took home the 25 points he came to get. Darryn Durham proved that Mitch Payton still knows how to pick ‘em with a great night and a second place finish. Ken Rozcen podiumed with a just-healed broken wrist. He looked great on the bike and seemed in control. Blake Wharton had some time leading his heat and the main, but got shuffled around a knocked down a bit. He is very fast on his Rockstar Suzuki. Blake Baggett and Kyle Cunningham both look strong this year, but a first turn crash ended Baggett’s front number plate, and Cunningham’s night. Cunningham told Dirt Rider later that his front wheel had locked with Baggett and sent him over the bars. He felt his wrist pop and thought it was broken, but x-rays in the Asterisk rig showed otherwise. He’s focused on healing and is hopeful he will be back next weekend in Atlanta. -Pete Peterson
If you’re a country music fan then you probably know the name Craig Morgan. Morgan is an award winning Nashville recording artist and star of the television show “All Access Outdoors”, which airs on CMT. In addition to being heavy into the country music scene, Morgan is also an avid dirt biker and races several off-road events a year in the southeast. This past weekend, Morgan showed up with his film crew at the Cherokee National Enduro in Greensboro, Georgia, to get in a little bit of racing and also to tape a piece for an upcoming segment of his TV show. Morgan actually rode the “A” class and did quite well, although he signed up under his real name, which we won’t disclose here. Be sure to check out his show, where we’re sure the enduro series and dirt biking in general will get a little bit of love.Speaking of national enduros, be sure to look for a feature story on the “Bikes of Enduro” in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rider. This year’s AMA National Enduro Series has more factory involvement than ever and it was really interesting to see all of the new woods iron and aftermarket goodies offered for hard-core off-road racing. By the way, in spite of the wealth of factory riders involved in this year’s series, a 17-year-old privateer, Steward Baylor, has won the opening two rounds, proving you don’t have to be a veteran of the series to be successful. With the new rules, a rank newbie to the series can come in and be successful. Charlie Mullins proved that two years ago when he won the 2010 title as a rookie riding a privateer Yamaha for Keith Obermeyer and Obermeyer Yamaha in Indiana.
As I mentioned above, Steward Baylor won round two of the AMA Rekluse National Enduro Series this past weekend in Georgia, beating out FMF KTM’s Cory Buttrick by nearly two minutes. Overnight rains and an all-day drizzle on Sunday made the event super challenging, but Baylor kept it on two wheels all day and stayed consistent to secure the win. Buttrick proved that he’s back on track after suffering various health issues in 2011, and the Ohio rider is looking forward to getting back in the groove in this year’s GNCC series as well. Eight-time national enduro champ Michael Lafferty rounded out the podium in Georgia, after putting in a hard charge in the final test to try to catch Buttrick for second. And while he came up just short, Lafferty rounded out the podium with a third and sits in pretty good shape in his quest for a record ninth national title. -Shan MooreA few months ago Kurt Casselli announced he was heading to Mexico to head KTM’s new assault on the SCORE Baja series, specifically the Baja 1000. Now with the San Felipe 250 just a few weeks away, some of the plans are coming together.The bikes KTM will race are a hybrid of the 2012 450 SX and the Dakar Rally motor. The chassis is basically Caselli’s Hare & Hound bike with the carbureted 450cc dual-cam engine installed. That motor is unique and there are not in any production bikes as of yet. It is sort of the new SX/XC/EXC bottom end with a different top end, maybe a glimpse of something coming in the future?The riders are the big news. In San Felipe and likely in the Baja 500, KTM will run two teams with Caselli teaming with Ivan Ramirez. The second team will consist of Baja virgin Mike Brown and a very experienced Quinn Cody who recently left JCR Honda.So we know the riders have skills and the bike seems a serious contender. The biggest factor in racing in Baja is the pit support, especially in the longer races. It was the biggest advantage that Honda has enjoyed in the recent past like Kawasaki and Husky before them. Having the guys to fix/replace parts/change wheels and most importantly dump gas quickly and efficiently while being at the exact right spot in the Mexican desert will be the biggest challenge the KTM squad will face.Check out this youtube video of Caselli talking about the event:www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Nk36Eoy0yw
The annual Indianapolis Dealer Expo took place this past weekend, and the show once again provided a glimpse at some of the coolest, newest products that will be hitting dealer’s shelves soon. Dirt Rider was on hand and completed a fun web gallery from the weekend that you can view at 2012 Indy Show Highlights. We also have a fun video in the works….stay tuned!
As this edition of the Weekly Dirt goes to print, half of our staff has just come skidding in the door from testing the all-new KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition. You’ll read the first test very shortly, but we can tell you right now that the bike is incredibly cool-fuel injection is a beautiful thing on the orange bike. The revised machine is leaps and bounds better than the carbureted 450 SX-F, and we’re fairly certain that this mid-year model release is a sign of big things to come from KTM.
-Chris DenisonThat’s all for this week. Check back in next Wednesday for the latest scoop from the world of off-road.